Call for balance in producing negotiating text for Paris Agreement implementation

Bonn, 8 November 2017 (Prerna Bomzan)

In producing the draft negotiating text for the implementation of the Paris Agreement (PA), developing countries called for balance on all elements of the PA at the opening meeting of the UNFCCC’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Paris Agreement (APA) on Nov. 7 in Bonn, Germany.

They also emphasized the need for a Party-driven process in producing the draft negotiating text.

(The tasks related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement [PA] is being undertaken by the APA as well as the various subsidiary and thematic bodies of the Convention and this work as a whole is referred to as the implementation of the Paris Work Programme.)

At the opening plenary of the APA, presided over by Co-chairs Sara Baashan (Saudi Arabia) and Jo Tyndall (New Zealand), Ecuador, speaking for the G 77 and China, emphasized that the Group looked forward to engage constructively in the textual work that is needed for the operationalization of the PA in a manner that reflects equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty; while continuing to enhance the full implementation of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol (KP), without any renegotiation or reinterpretation of their principles and provisions.

Ecuador reiterated “that the work of APA should be Party-driven and undertaken in a comprehensive, balanced and coherent manner, addressing mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building, in a single package. To that effect, our Group and its different constituencies have provided an important number of submissions with concrete substantive proposals and inputs that together with the submissions from the rest of our partners, should be the basis for our negotiations, of course, without limiting the opportunities for Parties to provide additional inputs that may have been omitted or that may result from the round tables or the negotiations, ensuring therefore that no one is left behind”.

Iran on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), stressed that “the implementation of the PA through what we will negotiate here should fully reflect and operationalize the clear differentiation between developed and developing country Parties, leadership by developed country Annex I Parties under the Convention, flexibilities for developing country Parties, full scope and nationally determined nature of contributions and linkage between actions by developing country Parties and support by developed country Parties. The key elements of mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, constitute a single package and should be addressed in a balanced, comprehensive, inter-linked and mutually supportive manner”.

It further said “to do this, a single draft negotiating text that is produced in a Party-driven manner is needed that will include all the elements and reflect all Parties’ views and options in a balanced manner. Opportunities should be offered to Parties to put their views into the text in order to increase their ownership of the text”.

Mali, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that it foresees an outcome of the APA as including a consolidation of the co-facilitator notes by the Co-chairs, which “not only elevates the status of the discussions, but also presents a clear approach of addressing the linkages with other aspects of the (Paris) Work Programme in the Subsidiary Bodies and the Conference of Parties”.

It further elaborated that “to ensure this concept of balance is not abstract”, Mali outlined what this means for the African Group. It referred to the “level of specificity and granularity of decisions” to be taken. As an example, it said that Parties had in a previous decision adopted in Lima in 2014, where “we outlined minimum information to be included in the mitigation component of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The same was not the case with adaptation where there was no minimum information defined. In our view, this constitutes an imbalance”.

 “This imbalance persists in the APA negotiations, where the four mandates on adaptation to the Adaptation Committee and the Least Developed Country Expert Group, in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Finance received vague mandates in respect of adaptation. The reports from these bodies is unsatisfactory to implement the adaptation-related provisions of the PA. COP 23 (the 23rd session of the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties) should address the procedural aspects of these bodies, following their reports under the Subsidiary Bodies”, stressed Mali.

“We further need to look at balance across the different thematic areas being addressed under various bodies under the Convention. We are concerned about the balance in details pertaining to finance. The first being the different level of detail in the transparency agenda item between action and support. We are further concerned about a number of items in agenda item 8, particularly the discussion of modalities for the Biennial Communications of Indicative Support (BCIS)”.

(Agenda item 8 of the APA deals with further matters related the implementation of the PA.)

Speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Ethiopia stressed the urgency for climate action citing a year of devastating hurricanes, extraordinary monsoon flooding and record-breaking heatwaves that has left millions feeling the brute force of climate change. “This demands fair, equitable and ambitious action by all Parties that is proportionate to the scale of the challenge before us, including in the pre-2020 period”.

“If we are listening to all those who are suffering from climate impacts, our main focus under the APA must be on progressing our work towards full and urgent implementation of the PA that we collectively adopted”.

It also called for “a balanced approach to negotiations going forward” and to “move into text based negotiations during the upcoming APA session as a matter of urgency.”

It further urged to “utilize the goodwill amongst Parties to address some of the essential yet straightforward matters such as the integration of the Adaptation Fund into the PA architecture. This is an issue on which we could have a decision here at COP23, that the Fund shall serve the PA, without making any unnecessary complications”.

Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), also reminded about the climate tragedy affecting several AOSIS members in the Caribbean, namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Cuba where many in the island family are still without homes and basic services facing an uncertain future.

“On mitigation, we recently learned that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 now exceed 403ppm. We must raise the ambition in our NDCs as soon as possible if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius”.

“At the same time, the onslaught of extreme weather reminds us that we are falling short in delivering the resources needed to help communities adapt to climate change impacts that no longer can be avoided”.

Saudi Arabia for the Arab Group associated itself with the statement made by G77 and China underscoring the principle of CBDR; maintaining and preserving the balance of the PA; balanced progress on textual content which should be consistent, detailed and standardized and on an integrated package in 2018. It also underscored the differentiation in NDCs and a comprehensive nature of Adaptation Communications with all adaptation processes linked to the global goal on adaptation.

Speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA Group), Venezuela stated that both mitigation and adaptation requires predictable and sufficient means of implementation based on historical responsibility and climate justice. It further demanded that the industrialised countries compensate for their lack of action and show greater and more visible leadership. It stressed on balanced and transparent process, without any coercive and unilateral measures, in all areas under the APA as well as other subsidiary bodies. In developing the transparency framework, there should be balance between both action and support with differentiated treatment required by developing countries. There should be no attempt to renegotiate or reinterpret or shift the balance of the PA which is developed under the UNFCCC and therefore, needs to comply with its concepts.

Peru on behalf of the Independent Alliance of the Latin America and Caribbean (AILAC) stated that the integrity and ambition of the PA must be safeguarded and called towards working decisively, ensuring transparency for both mitigation and adaptation as well as means of implementation. It welcomed the historical transformation for renewable energy and a move away from fossil fuel production.

The European Union (EU) said that it relied on the presiding officers and the secretariat to present the mode of work bearing that each agenda item has its own pace. It further stated that while Parties should honour balance, at the same time they must recognize the substantive differences in the items. The EU also said that while some of the items were progressing, some lacked substance. It emphasized that the EU is not convinced that compilation of submissions is the most efficient way and that it supports a mode of work that captures in text, decision proposals. It also stressed that there is a need to maintain oversight by regular stocktake.

Switzerland on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG) said that technical work needs to be completed in this session with substantial notes of co-facilitators on each agenda item which is crucial for domestic digestion of numerous Parties’ proposals for implementation guidelines. The co-facilitators should prepare a further iteration of informal notes which should prepare for negotiations in 2018. Switzerland called on the Co-chairs to ensure overall balance, with a gradual deepening of substance and text in each area and a comprehensive package to be adopted together. Switzerland also said that any early harvest would erode trust and confidence in the process. In order to ensure balance, placeholders and cross-references need to be kept as some items still need more technical discussion than others. It would be useful to have a stocktake in the middle of the session.

Australia on behalf of the Umbrella Group stated that emissions reductions are fundamental to ensure credibility and public accountability. It further stated that for the APA, the mandate includes adaptation communications, global stocktake, implementation and compliance. Speaking on Adaptation Fund, it said that for the fund to serve the PA, there must be best possible safeguards and operating modalities. On the overall process, it said that coherence and consistency would be helpful but that did not mean uniformity. There should be flexibility and that all items can move in their own pace.

Co-Chair Sara Bashaan (Saudi Arabia), in the opening of the plenary, outlined the organisation of the work in the session saying that Parties will continue to work in a single contact group with mid-session on Thursday this week and a closing meeting which will adopt conclusions. All six agenda items will be discussed through informal consultations, avoiding more than two informal consultations and having them at the same time. There will be guidance provided through daily coordination and contact meetings with co-facilitators. There will be continuation of open door policy and active engagement with observers including special sessions with observers, as was the approach in previous sessions. Only on Parties’ request, meetings will be closed.

Bonn News Updates 6

UNFCCC / APA 1-4, COP 23
6 November - 17 November 2017, Bonn, Germany
by Prerna Bomzan
Bonn, 8 November 2017